Baylor football’s expectations remain sky-high following its successful 2021 season and a No. 10 preseason ranking. Will the Bears stay hot in 2022? Could they even exceed expectations? Let’s get straight to it with five bold predictions for the upcoming season...
1. QB room will make-or-break Bears
Let’s preface by saying, Blake Shapen has the chance to be fantastic, I have no doubts about that. A bigger concern: What happens if the sophomore goes down?
In his first home start last season, Shapen took a direct shot near the sideline and had to miss a down. He also suffered a severe shoulder injury during the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game, which is also concerning. In the unfortunate event of an injury, Louisiana Tech transfer Luke Anthony or inexperienced redshirt freshman Kyron Drones would have to step into a spot Shapen was in last year.
Y’all MUST see this hit in this Baylor game.. my GAWD!!!! Blake Shapen I can’t believe you got up from this one! pic.twitter.com/9YGmQFTYEU— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) November 27, 2021
I predict things to go sideways in a hurry if the Shreveport, La. native isn’t under center for the Bears. On the flip side, in 2021 we saw what happened when Gerry Bohanon went down. The quarterback room will prove to be huge once again.
2. Baylor stays ranked all season long
As mentioned before, Baylor’s schedule is a road-heavy gauntlet. Every game will be close, but the Bears shouldn’t drop its ranking at any point this season. Even with an occasional close loss to a quality team on the road, the green and gold should stay afloat.
3. O-line takes Bears back to Arlington
Almost all of Baylor’s big fellas in the trenches who helped create success in 2021 are back for another season, and they’re looking to keep pounding the rock. Whether it’s reliability from sixth-year senior center Jacob Gall or stupendous blind-side protection from Connor Galvin, the run game is going to be lethal, once again.
Even after losing Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner to the NFL, the Bears should not worry one bit. The unsung heroic O-lineman will pave the way for whoever bursts through the hole as Baylor heads back to the Big 12 title game.
4. Baylor boasts country’s best D-line
The fact that Gabe Hall, Siaki “Apu” Ika and Jaxon Player are all on the same team is bogus. Any offensive coordinator in the country should fear preparing for a matchup like that.
These three do so much. Apu eats up blocks and dances after occasional sacks, whereas the 6-6, 296-pound Hall wreaks freakish havoc. Player, a transfer from Tulsa, is one of the best nose guards in the country, and is stoked to be with the Bears.
Former Waco Midway & Tulsa defensive lineman @jaxon_player is excited to be back playing for his hometown team and thrilled for the ability to finally "rep the green and gold." pic.twitter.com/kJ19IDKf2e— Baylor Bears on SicEm365 (@SicEm365) August 10, 2022
5. Dillon Doyle notches First Team All-Big 12
Linebacker Dillon Doyle is a two-time All-Big 12 Honorable Mention nominee (2020, 2021) at his position. Doyle did that while being next to now-Buffalo Bill Terrel Bernard. With an opportunity to burst into a huge role, I expect the Iowa City, Iowa native to post elite numbers and finally make a postseason conference team.